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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to end...
I will keep this short. I read this when it came out and enjoyed it, almost 10 years on I picked it up again and loved it. I have found myself thinking about the book when away from it, it has a magical effect, so fantastical yet so grounded in reality that you will never look at a cat or an undertaker in quite the same way. I am very excited to hear that HBO are...
Published 22 months ago by G. Francis

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Swollen beyond measure
Mr Gaiman tells us that this version (the "author's preferred text") is much enlarged from the original release. If this is so, then he would do well to listen to his editor next time, because there's some serious pruning needed here. As the book is aimed squarely at the US market (which seems to prefer a high weight to content ratio) it's hardly surprising that the...
Published on 9 Jun 2009 by Crookedmouth


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gods in the Land of Freedom..., 1 May 2011
Shadow is in prison. It won't be long now and he'll be a free man. His life out there is waiting together with his beloved wife, Laura. The day of the release, he's told that Laura died in a car accident. The world seems to stand still and he dies inside. Probably he was already dead, but he didn't really know it.
Alone and confused he meets Wednesday, a strange and mysterious man, who offers him a simple but dangerous job: he will have to drive him from place to place, he will have to hurt people, but only if it's necessary and should he die, he will held his vigil.
The storm's coming and together with it, a battle who will shed more than blood.
What Shadow doesn't know yet is that there are Gods in this world and they have been forgotten by those worshipers, who brought them to America a long time ago. And there are new Gods, modern ones, who want to take over the world and clean it from the old ones.
Shadow will learn this on his journey, and he will also learn that what we see is not always the truth. His adventure will show him life and death, wisdom and corruption, love and hate. He will find himself on this journey, but the price to pay for it will be high. Nothing will be the same again.
It's a long book, you will have to concentrate to keep track of all the Gods if you're not familiar with mythology. But it will be worth it. Enlightening, powerful, exciting. Gaiman never fails to surprise me and every one of his books is a precious fascinating work. Neverwhere is still my all time favorite though.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating idea but some weaknesses in execution, 23 May 2011
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
After Good Omens and Anansi Boys this is my third excursion with Neil Gaiman and unlike with the first two, which I enjoyed a great deal, this one was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

The book is based on a fabulous premise - namely of people bringing gods they worship / associated ideas into the new land they move to - in this case America. That these then need to arrange themselves there, in competition with many other views and in a land, which according to the author is not 'very suitable' for gods is in essence what the book is about. This story then unfolds in the book through the experiences of Shadow - the ex-con protagonist - who gets throuwn into this aspect of life after leaving prison. As such, the basic idea, the cultural commentary and the overall plan being set are great, with execution leaving, on occassion, a bit to be desired.

First of all, the length. While I almost always have a preference for a book longer rather than shorter, I did on several occassions (especially towards the middle) get the impression that this one started to drag a bit. This is the author's prefered version of the text - meaning that ca. 12.000 words that have been parsed from the first edition by the editor got reinstated in some shape or form. Not having read the earlier version, I cannot say for sure but my impression is certainly that the book could easily skip that amount and gain, rather than lose somethingn (just like it is interesting for fans to see Apocalypse Now Redux [DVD] [1979] to fill in some details in spite of the plain vanilla Apocalypse Now [1979] [DVD] probably being much better rounded as a movie).

On top of that, one gets the impression that the author often chose to forego focus to benefit inclusion - i.e. a lot of the vignettes included read more as testaments of research done, rather than a part of the story (granted, this may well be seen as a feature by some and certain ones of the vignettes present some of the best writing in the book).

Shadow, as a character, is perhaps not particularly memorable or someone you would naturally identify with, an aspect that may also turn some of the readers off. Whether he is believable is hard to say - people handle extreme situations in mysterious ways and one can certainly believe that his is a possibility.

In spite of these criticisms, I still find the book worth reading and apart from some 40 or so pages in the middle, I did not find it difficult to do so - conversely, at no point was it a page turner for me, either. If you can forgive the author his enthusiasm getting the better of him (and thereby bypassing some of the regular editing process) and are willing to follow the idea, and if the size does not deter you, I find the book to certainly provide adequate food for thought and enjoyment, even if it is not the author's best in my opinion.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 April 2006
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
This book is the author's preferred version. This means it is exactly as Gaiman would have wanted it to be. In some cases this is a good thing, but probably not in this book as some parts are quite bogged down and would have been better being streamlined.

On the positive side the book transcends conventional genres and is extremely readable. The characterisation is particularly good, especially in the case of the main character - Shadow.

Overall, an excellent read, but very occasionally let down by long-winded sections.

It is a book that I wanted to re-read immediately, which is always a good sign of a quality book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning: Breaks down conventional barriers of fantasy, 10 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
I have never read anything by Neil Gaiman before and I am not a comic book fan so, I am afraid, I had never encountered his Sandman escapades. My normal choice of reading is crime fiction with a smattering of decent horror and sci-fi thrown in. I have never been a great fan of the Dungeons/Dragons type of Fantasy or the epic series that often typifies this genre.
I saw a review of American Gods on the Amazon site and was enthralled and enticed by the synopsis of the story, so I decided to buy a copy. This was one of the best decisions I have made this year.
American Gods is an epic in it's own right that literally breaks down the barriers of conventional fantasy writing. For anyone with any degree of knowledge or interest in mythology, and with a mind that doesn't believe in accepting the status quo, this book will take you on journeys of pure joy.
One of your other reviewers likened this to a mix of Stephen King and Clive Barker, and I would have to say that this is a fairly good comparison with the emphasis on the 'Weaveworld' style of Barker and the down-home everyday America writing of Stephen King that makes his dialogue flow and draw you in.
American Gods is a story that I did not want to end. I doubt if there will be a better book written in the same vein.
This is a story that I could not hope to synopsise myself as I think that every reader will form their own personal relationships with the book and will each gain their own rewards depending on their literary leanings.
I do not think I will be rushing out to buy all Neil Gaiman's other books, as I do not think he will have equalled American Gods in any of his previous writings, but I will keep a very close eye on what he comes up with next!
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45 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most fun that you can have by yourself., 22 Nov 2005
By 
Andrew "docdaneeka" (Zürich, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
American Gods is possibly one of the greatest books ever written. Not because of its prose, not because it is an evolutionary book of its time, but because it is the most bizarrely conceived idea that is presented in an almost plausible manner with that magical ingredient: the story weaving ability of Neil Gaiman. I loved this book, truly.
The story centres on the character of Shadow who is about to be released from prison and is eager to get back to a life and, above all, back to his wife. Two days before he is due to be released Shadows wife dies tragically in a car accident. On the journey home from prison to attend his wife’s funeral Shadow meets the enigmatic Mr Wednesday who offers him a job. Having nothing of his old life remaining to go back to Shadow reluctantly agrees to the offer on, what he believes are, his terms.
Mr Wednesday takes Shadow to a bar where he drinks three glasses of mead to “seal the agreement” and the pair meet Mad Sweeney; a leprechaun and an alcoholic. From then on nothing in Shadows life is conventional as we follow him on the path of Mr Wednesday’s agenda to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.
I could rave on about this book but I would not want to spoil the plot for you. Needless to say it has won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award. This book is pure Gaiman; its book heroin. I was reading it on the toilet, on the tube, during my tea breaks, during commercial breaks, in fact any spare minute that I had was spent reading this book I enjoyed it that much, and now my girlfriend is suffering the same fate. I would recommend this read in a heartbeat.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but a feeling of deja vu., 28 Nov 2002
By 
Davywavy2 - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
Neil Gaiman is a writer of considerable talent and ability, but with preoccupations that colour all his work. The power of imagination, old gods and other supernatural beings forgotten by time, and the power of tradition and ritual are consistent themes within his works. As a reader raised by a decade of his Sandman comic, I came to American Gods with a good deal of expectation and left it feeling rather disappointed because it's nothing new. If you've read the 'Brief Lives' story in Sandman, then you've very much read American Gods, or at least got many of the ideas from it.
The plot is essentially a road trip wherein the protagonist travels to 'places of power' around America (i.e. places that have significant mystical or emotional resonance) and meets the gods whom successive waves of immigrants (Egyptian, Norse, Russian, Eastern European, Mexican, etc...) have brought with them to the United States, all of them now lacking power or focus as belief in them has drifted away.
The story itself is of the conflict between old & new gods (the internet, the media, and so on) but that's irrelevant. More important to the story are ideas and settings, and Gaiman has used all these ideas and setting before - which is what results in the book being a disappointment. He has tremendous skill with dialogue, and captures the American Idiom wonderfully, but the repetition of ideas from earlier work (with nothing new added), and also the fact that the protagonist meets gods everywhere (indeed, one sometimes suspects that America has no population other than dispossessed deities, so few normal people does he meet), leads me to deduct one star from five.
If you aren't familiar with Gaimans work, you're in for something of a treat. If you are familiar with his work, then, plotwise, you won't find anything here that you haven't read before. However, his writing is strong and characterisation consistent enough for the feelings of mild déjà vu upon reading this book to be at worst a nagging feeling, and never does it distract too badly from an enjoyable read.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Found a new author, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
I have been a Stephen King and James Herbert, among others, for over thirty years now. However, for some strange reason I had never heard of Neil Gaiman. Well, I've just finished this book and I'm now looking forward many more from him. Oh yeah, need I say I loved this book?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable journey, 28 Nov 2006
By 
Redeye (England/Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
The book looks big, black and daunting and I was a bit wary but I wanted to read a Neil Gaiman book after reading his praise of Susannah Clarke's, 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell'. I could tell after a few pages my choice was good because the story took my interest from the start and from then on it was a very entertaining drive across America to some amazing places, meeting some interesting people with a few detours through the ancient past. Overall a very good read, entertaining, humourous, profound and majestic and I strongly recommend it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fasinating Read, 18 Aug 2006
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
I first read this book 2 and a half years ago and loved it then. I read it again last month during my summer holiday and loved it even more.

It's hard to put this book into any particular genre, a bit of sci-fi, a bit of fantasy, a bit of horror, a bit of erotisism and a bit of humour. All these together make a fantastic story written in a way that only Neil Gaiman knows how.

I'd never heard of Gaiman when I first got this book as a Christmas present but I'm glad I was introduced to him this way. Stardust, Neverwhere and then (after a short while) Anansi Boys soon followed.

A real page-turner all through the whole 600+ pages.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only in America, 12 Jan 2005
By 
Amazon Customer "Gav" (Cardiff, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
Over 628 pages American Gods reacquaints us with some forgotten gods and introduces some new ones: Media, Mr Town, and others who feed off our prayers and sacrifices. But being a god does not mean much when you are no longer powerful. So in order to survive the new gods are out to destroy the old gods in the coming storm.

This novel made me ask what does happen to gods when we no longer believe in them? It appears that they are stuck in Godless America, trapped after they have been forgotten by the people that brought them to its shores.

We are treated to a grand scale story on a human stage as we see the story unfold through Shadows interactions with characters mythology and Central America.

The story telling is first rate, a web that Anansi would be proud of. The main story is interjected with sidebars and interludes which rather than detracting from the tale enhance the sense of mystery and understanding.

The key to good story telling is in the way it flows. I couldn't see the twists coming but afterwards I was kicking myself as all the clues are there. It's like a good murder mystery knowing that the information isn't being kept from you, you just have to figure it out, or knowing that you could work it all out if you wanted but instead sitting back and watching it enfold instead.

Though it isn't all magical there were points where I was thinking just get on with it, not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because they was too much information being given and there was other places that I wanted to know more about.

I don't think the story could have be told in many less pages. There was a place at the end where the battle was fought and won that I thought it was all over, only to find a further fifty pages of revelations.
I'd love to revisit this world of lost gods can we have some more tales Neil? Just a couple short stories? Anything?
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American Gods by Neil Gaiman
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